Celebrating Next Gen Leaders, Supporting Ukraine, and More: Federation Leadership Briefing

As we continue to navigate a challenging start to 2022, I am thankful for the incredible leadership, generosity, and partnerships that keep Jewish Greater Washington strong. We could not have done any of this work without your support.

Please read on to learn about the inaugural Capital Chai Awards and how you can nominate a current next gen leader. You’ll also find the latest on our communal impact in Ukraine, and a special invitation to the upcoming Washington Conference. As you will see, we are collectively addressing the most critical issues today and building a stronger community for tomorrow.

Thank you for all you do as we work together to meet the needs of our community and those around the world. As always, if you have any questions or would like to connect directly, I’d love to hear from you.

Moadim L’simcha (may your times be happy) and Happy Passover,

Gil Preuss, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington


Our Impact in Ukraine
As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, Federation’s decades of support and partnership in the region, coupled with our community’s generosity, continue to prove invaluable in meeting the evolving and ongoing needs of our Jewish family in Ukraine.

Since February, nearly 3,200 Greater Washington community members have donated $2.3 million to Federation’s Ukraine Emergency Fund, and 100% of these donations continue to meet humanitarian needs. In collaboration with The Jewish Federations of North America, funds are directly supporting our partners on the ground at the JDC, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World ORT, Hillel International, Chabad, HIAS, The Israel Trauma Coalition, and United Hatzalah, among other global partners. With your help, our community has helped thousands of Ukrainian Jews access food and medicine, immigrate to Israel, and more.

Watch my updates from Ukraine’s border

This work has taken many forms, including in-person volunteer efforts on the ground. Katya Davidzon, Federation’s Community Shlicha (Israeli emissary) to MoEd and Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital, recently spent 10 days in Poland with The Jewish Agency to assist Ukrainian refugees – including by creating a makeshift Hebrew school for children and adults. Born in Ukraine herself, Katya found this opportunity incredibly meaningful, and we look forward to sharing more on her experience soon.

You can read more about our response in Ukraine. We will continue to update you regarding the specific challenges and needs facing the Ukrainian Jewish community over the coming weeks and months.

Capital Chai: Celebrating Our Community’s Next Gen Leaders
This year, Federation is introducing the Capital Chai Awards, honoring 18 of our community’s remarkable next gen community members (Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s) who, through a variety of fields, talents, and skills, are creating a better world today. We’re looking for the innovators, thought leaders, creators, activists, builders, philanthropists, volunteers, and more who are making a difference in Greater Washington and beyond, guided by their Jewish values.

If that sounds like someone you know, I encourage you to nominate them by the April 25th deadline. (Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged!) Please also save the date for our Annual Meeting and Capital Chai celebration on June 16th, when we will come together to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of these inspiring individuals.

On the Horizon: Washington Conference 22 & Federation’s Rabbinic Mission to Israel

  • On May 11th and 12th, Jewish leaders from across North America will be together in Washington, DC to network and advocate for some of the most pressing issues facing Jewish communities around the world. The future of Jewish communities everywhere requires all of us to work together, sharing ideas in pursuit of vibrant Jewish life. Please consider joining me and representing Greater Washington amongst your fellow leaders, experts, and influencers. Learn more and register here.
  • Federation’s Rabbinic Mission to Israel
    Last June, I traveled to Israel with several area rabbis in the aftermath of war with Hamas and the eruption of violent outbreaks in Israel, which provided a meaningful framework for important conversations. Now, I am preparing for another cross-denominational Rabbinic Mission to Israel from May 15th – 20th. Our cohort will seek to understand the challenges Israel continues to face one year after the war, both in building a pluralist society as well in integrating a significant new wave of olim (immigrants) from Ukraine and Ethiopia. I look forward to sharing much more about our journey before, during, and after this exciting and important Mission.

Thank You
The concurrent challenges presented to our community and the world require compassion, collaboration, and care. Thank you for embodying these attributes and for exemplifying Jewish values to make a difference in the world today and into the future. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time at [email protected] to discuss these or other topics and Federation initiatives.